Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The shorts muslins of hell


Since my last post, many things happened… Many shorts muslins mainly (and still no overlock pedal arrival, grrr)! This is a very interesting experience, even if it is not completely positive. On the bright side, I received a lot of great tips in the comment section, I also realised that this is a touchy subject for many ladies. This project is definitely pulling me between aesthetics and practicality.  The main tips I got were as follows (massive thanks to Tropical Threads!):

-                      Dropped waist if you are in a warm climate.
-                      Pay a lot of attention to the crotch length/depth
-                      Avoid lose legs because it created the riding up effect
-                      Pleats are not a big issue but I would need to find a way to reconcile pleats with fitted legs
-                      Use thick fabric
-                      Broad hem (sits well and brings extra weight)
-                      Consider other patterns
-                      Use of inseam stays (thanks for this one Jamie!)

I will of course show you the photos and it’s usually quite easy to see what does or does not work. Let’s be completely honest, shorts mostly did not work. First, let’s focus on the aesthetic (I’ll have a rent about practicality later…)

The no-pleats version: Abort! Abort! Pouch alert! Also, the length is not for me. There is a crotch length issue and the pattern just does not work.

The one pleat version: now that I look at it a few days after the big drama muslin day, I must admit it does not look as bad as I remember. There is still a crotch length issue but the main problem is the placement of the pleats, they are really not flattering. Apart from that, I like the cuffs and the length.

The 2-pleats version: the pleats don't work for me. I just don't like the way it looks. I actually find it quite upsetting to talk about :( 

The 3-pleats version: I just need to add a little bit of crotch length but I quite like the way this looks!

Overall, the version I like the most is the 3 pleats. I am not sure if it is because they hide the pouch area or because it just feels wider. The crotch depth feels almost ok but I am not really an expert. I also have a very irrational feeling that after 4 muslins, I need to pick one version and make it to close this unpleasant chapter.

Now, let’s jump into the Bunching up issue! You will find 4 very unflattering shots below. Protect your eyes! For each muslin, I jogged 30 seconds on the spot to see how bad things would get. And it got pretty bad pretty quick, way before the 30 seconds were over…

3 pleats version 
2 pleats version
1 pleat version
No pleats
This is not a good sign because the reason I want shorts is to go hiking in Crete… Ok, I could use a shorter pair to garden at home, or to wear in the summer at home, on warmer days. I think that’s the reason I will sew one of the muslins above. I actually really like the pleating effect and the cuffs of the 3 pleats muslin. This is Burda 07/2013. I will try to apply some of the advice I have received so far: use a heavier fabric (I have leftover beige denim from the Albion Duffle coats), have a dropped waist and use cuffs to add weight to the hem. I will also adjust the crotch length a little bit.

In the meantime, I think it will be wise to find other patterns. I am considering using the top of the Burda jeans pattern that I know fits well. ThIris from Colette could also be a good one. Do you have any other recommendation?

Have you ever had a project that tests your dedication or that makes you struggle with your body image? Even if it is for the best…


  1. Every time that I make an unflattering muslin/garment, it ignites body issues for me--especially if it highlights body areas that I'm self-conscious about. I recently made a wadder from a Lekala pattern (PDF patterns that are custom-drafted to your measurements), and I was harshly reminded that just because something fit me well doesn't mean that it would look good on me.

  2. Your legs are much smaller than you tummy area. Start with a couple of sizes smaller and enlarge the tummy area. Watch this youtube from Hot patterns it might help.
    Good luck.

  3. Also it looks like the front needs shortened. Sherril's blog has lots of fitting tips

  4. Hiking in Crete? Are you planning to go to Samaria??!!! don't do it!!!! it's a nightmare, I'm serious...
    I like the three pleats version, they look comfy and nice, but the other versions don't look that bad to me.

  5. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

    Props for sharing your muslin process - we all go through exactly the same thing :) I def like the 3 pleat muslin first, and I'm really interested to see what you learn about stopping them bunching up - I have exactly the same problem on my RTW shorts. The only thing I've noticed is that longer ones seem to do it marginally less, and I do think the type of fabric makes a difference.

  6. if you have a pants TNT use that - you got the waist and crotch already fit

    then just adjust the narrowness of the leg etc down to the knee and viola shorts

    However if you want to continue down this path and I know you will get there. Hang in there - this is a test and it too shall pass.

    Have fun and on the bright side you will have a PERFECTLY fitting shorts muslin.


  7. I like the three pleats version also, although the bunching up would drive me nuts while hiking.

  8. I remember seeing tennisoutfits where the shorts had a flap in the front, making it look like a short wrap skirt. Would that be something for you? I found a vintage example:

  9. Maybe I'm a crazy person, but I think you look good in all of them! I think the three pleats version is the best, but I think a little length might be a bit more practical. You are so brave for taking on the dreaded SHORT. A chill went up my spine just typing that... shorts.. shorts... aaaahhhh!
    Oh and hi! *waves* I just discovered your blog and have been lurking.

  10. L. The 3 pleats looks best, I plan on buying the Iris shorts from colette, and making it work…I want to wear shorts this summer too. I am sick of capris….And I am just going to say NO to crotch ride ups! : ). P

  11. Kudos for posting the pictures. Have you tried lengthening the crotch by lengthening the crotch on the front pattern pieces? it looks like the front pieces are being pulled deeper between your legs. Sometimes before I redraft the pattern, I'll unpick the stitches connecting the front and the back pants pieces, and try on the trousers and see of the wrinkles disappear. I'm not certain how it will affect the pulling problem.

    I'm looking at the book "real pants for real people." good luck. Muslins are a pain but you end up learning so much.

    Rose in SV (a new follower)

  12. Oh my! It quite simply looks like a pain in the @$$!!! I like your determination to muddle through it and find the perfect combination. I'm certain you will succeed!

  13. How about trying some inseam stays? Like the NoRiders.

    I'd also like to find some shorts that don't ride up. I want a shorter length because it looks better, but knee length is the only ones I know won't ride up. Going to be following to see how yours turn out!

  14. Kudos to you for attacking the shorts/pants issue head on! I'm so impressed! Don't settle just because you've slogged through 4 muslins!

    A suggestion: When I'm not sure about style or fit issues, I go shopping! I try on as many different styles as possible - length, cuffs, high waist, low waist, pleats, pockets etc etc. Then I find a pattern that matches the "winner" as closely as possible. You can always add cuffs, etc. I do this partly because I am such a slow worker that it would take me all summer to make 4 muslins!

    I wish I had some practical advice for you! But just to add my vote: I think the 3 pleat version looks the "best", but I think you think they look worse on you than they really do. :o)

  15. Hey Laurence! I had a thought - I heard a tip at Gertie's retreat - if you have more to fit either in your tummy or your bum (i.e. they're not even), you can cut a bigger front size than back size, and apparently sometimes that helps fit. Otherwise, the pattern is assuming you're bigger all round, which you might not be. I'm going to try this when I make pants because I have basically no bum!

  16. You are a much braver woman than I am. I gave up on shorts years ago. The bunching is a nightmare! Crazy as it sounds, I wear a knee length circle skirt or light capris to hike in.

    Like most of the other ladies, I vote for the three pleat version. They are quite flattering. The may not be what you want for hiking, but they would be great for hanging around the bbq.

  17. Ratti @ feralconnectionwearablesOctober 16, 2015 at 11:49 PM

    I'd go for knee-ish length bikeshorts ( to stop thigh chafe ) and a cuteasabutton short circle skirt over the top. My summer staple here in NZ, used for tramping, cycling and even swimming in a pinch. I am also a motorcyclist and this combo works well under my protective riding gear in summer. When I get to where I'm going, strip off and not be yukky hot and sweaty.


Related Posts with Thumbnails